Posted by: Rex Boyles | September 21, 2007

“Just one more time … “

 

I’ll say (type), “Samson” – and you will say (think), “STRONG”.

Samson – even his name sounds strong; but he was weak – so very weak. He could kill a lion with his bare hands – but he couldn’t keep his hands off the honey. He could conquer a city – but he couldn’t control his impulses. He could destroy an army with the jawbone of a donkey – but he couldn’t resist a woman.

 

When he saw something he wanted – he took it; when denied, he went berserk. He seemed arrogant – self-reliant – spiteful. He wanted what he wanted – whenever he wanted it – however he wanted it. He was a man on his own – and out of control.

 

His gift was from God – given to him to protect God’s people and to punish God’s enemies; but he dishonored God – disappointed his people – and destroyed his life.

 

Sound familiar?

 

My hair was never long. No one would ever have mistaken me for “buff”; but I, too, was given a gift from God … to rescue the perishing and to renounce the evil one. I failed to honor that gift and fulfill that mission. To whatever extent I was arrogant – self-reliant – spiteful, I will leave it for those of you, who know me and those who were hurt by me – to judge. I was blind to that weakness – as Samson was, I’m sure. But whether I was as arrogant or as impulsive as Samson is not the point. The point is that my behavior – my lack of self-control – dishonored God – damaged the church – and destroyed my life (as I knew life).

 

So what is a man supposed to do? Samson cannot put the honey back in the carcass – cannot un-burn the crops … cannot un-yield to his urges. Neither can I. So what is a man supposed to do?

 

I find help and hope in the prayer Samson prayed in his last breath:

“O sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge …” 

If I am (with whatever time I have left on this earth) going to -as Samson did – honor God … reclaim one last opportunity to use my gift … and fulfill the reason of my birth; I must also humbly – in faith – prepared for whatever may come – pray this prayer. I must:

Acknowledge the Sovereignty of God.  

His will – not mine – be done. Such was the prayer of the boy Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” … The promise of the widow Ruth, “Your God will be my God.” … The commitment of the Queen Esther, “If I die, I die.” … The answer of the prophet Isaiah, “Here am I, send me.” … The surrender of the virgin Mary, “Be it unto me, according to your Word.”

Remind God of my desire to be – my need to be with Him. 

The Lord has not forgotten His children or His servants; but those in need of mercy – of another chance – plead to be remembered … as Hezekiah did, when faced with death … as Nehemiah did, when faced with opposition … as Job did, when faced with unimaginable grief … as David did, when faced with memories of his past sins … as Jeremiah did, when faced with suffering … as the thief did, when faced with Jesus.

Make my request sincere and specific. 

What did Samson want? He wanted one more chance to use his strength to avenge his enemies. Was it to glorify God? Was it to fulfill His divine purpose? Doesn’t seem so … but my request is just that – to have one more opportunity in the later years of my life to “preach good news to the poor, bind up the broken-hearted, and proclaim freedom for the captives”.

Submit myself to fulfill God’s will for me. 

And what will he do, when the Lord grants his request? He commits himself – with one blow – to avenge himself. I have no desire to avenge myself (don’t even know what that would mean) … but I will commit myself to the Sovereign Lord, that as He grants me that strength, I will fulfill His purpose for me … even unto death.

I do not crave Samson’s physical strength. I do not crave his notoriety. But I do crave his place among the faithful. With all of his flaws – with all of his failures – he found the faith to overcome the world and to please his Sovereign Lord. May it be so in my life.

p.s. I thank God for Kelly Staggs, who was (and is) a friend to this sinner. I knew Kelly – before he was born. I have watched him grow from the boy I wrestled to put on his pajamas – to the man who now wrestles with me in the Kingdom of God to clothe sinners in Jesus. When others from “his church” passed by on the other side or stood off – silently assenting to the judgments of leaders … Kelly claimed me. This boy … no, this man … has become my brother … my co-worker … my friend. We know the worst in each other … and we believe the best in each other. I know no one stronger than this young man … and I, like many others, rely on his strength. Would you, please, pray for him, that God continue to use him, mightily? Would you, please, thank God for him – as I do – that he was (and is) a friend to this sinner?

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